Well, the 2010 season is over. No heart attack, but my finger nails are bleeding! I had this team winning between 80-85 games. I rationalized that they would have a solid bullpen, team speed, and good defense. These elements are often overlooked when compared to offense and the starting rotation. I would say this team slightly over achieved.
It's time to take a peek at what the Padres should do to take a step forward in 2011.
The current 25 man roster:
Mike Adams: Unless a great trade option comes up, he will be back.
Heath Bell: Will cost some money to bring back. Trades will be discussed. I think he comes back.
Kevin Correia: Bringing Kevin back would just take a roster spot from several better and cheaper options. He will be gone.
Ernesto Frieri: Young, effective, cheap. Should be considered for one of the final bullpen spots.
John Garland: Team will likely exercise option. Will Garland excercise the mutual option? The Padres should bring him back.
Luke Gregerson: Young, cheap, and usually effective. Padres could feel out a trade and plug Frieri or Webb into the 7th inning. He will likely be back.
Mat Latos: He will be back.
Wade Leblanc: Will likely battle Luebke for one of the final pitching spots.
Edward Mujica: Still under club control. Other than some home runs, he has been very effective and can go 3 innings if needed. I see value in bringing him back.
Clayton Richard: Solid season and under club control. He will be back.
Tim Stauffer: I was asking most of the season why Correia was starting over Tim. If the Padres are smart they put him in the rotation.
Joe Thatcher: One of the best young lefty relievers in the game. He is under club control. He will return.
Nick Hundley: He will be back.
Yorvit Torrealba: Just like with Garland, will Yorvit exercise his mutual option? I see no reason why the Padres wouldn't keep him around for $3.5 mil.
Evereth Cabrera: Put him in AAA. Let him work on his OB skills for a season.
David Eckstein: This is a question mark. I think the Padres will look to add a free agent to upgrade this spot, or may give Antonelli a chance if he is healthy
Adrian Gonzalez: Trades will be discussed. The Padres should give him a take it or leave it offer and trade him he doesn't take it. He will likely be back.
Jerry Hairston Jr: Valuable and cheap bench piece. The Padres would be wise to bring him back.
Chase Headley: Young and Cheap. I would like to see the Padres go after some power for 3B. I expect the tight budgeted Padres will bring Chase back for another .265 with 13 HR and 70 RBI, woo hoo.
Miguel Tejada: Turned out to be a great pick up. I hope than can bring him back.
Chris Denorfia: Should be back.
Tony Gwynn: Defense too valuable to let walk before his arbitration years are up.
Scott Hairston: So long Scotty.
Ryan Ludwick: Big question mark. Will likely cost $7 million. Could be worth the gamble since the FA market is very weak this year.
Oscar Salazar: Candidate to let walk.
Matt Stairs: Blocking guys like Cunningham. Padres should let him sign elsewhere.
Will Venable: Put it together the last 2 months. Good defense, good base running, average offense. Should be back to see if he can put it all together for a full season and reduce the K's.
Kyle Blanks: Could start the Season in AAA, will likely be back on the 25 man at some point.
I realize this is 28 players. The DL carousel always happens.
40 Man players that should be looked at in spring training:
Cory Luebke: Should be given a shot to win a back of the rotation starting spot.
Cesar Ramos: Likely back in AAA, lefties always valuable.
Adam Russell: Likely back in AAA. Webb is pitching better.
Ryan Webb: Legit chance to crack this bullpen, especially if a trade of Bell, Adams, or Gregerson occurs.
Chris Young: Could be offered a $1m base with innings pitched incentives.
Matt Antonelli: Second base will be a possible open spot. I would like to see him in AAA again until he can sustain health and productivity.
Aaron Cunningham: Deserves a shot platooning like he did in September.
Luis Durango: Headed for a trade or AAA. Could be a regular up and down just like 2010.
Prospects with an outside chance to crack the 25 man:
Aaron Poreda: Has to get his control together fast.
Simon Castro: Rotation is already log jammed. A full season at AAA won't hurt.
My 25 man roster expectation:
Bullpen(7 or 8)
Chris Young(if they can bring him back cheaply... Luebke would be first call up if Young injured)
Jerry Hairston Jr
Tony Gwynn Jr
As for the open spots: The Padres desperately need power. I see no need to go out and get pitching, the Padres have plenty in house.
Open1: Padres should go after a 2B like Orlando Hudson
Open2: Move some extra pitching, Chase, and prospects for Miguel Cabrera or Aramis Ramirez
Open3: Talk to Magglio Ordonez, if he wants too much then bring back Ludwick
These moves would add some serious payroll. The Padres would be looking at a $60-$65 mil payroll but a serious title contender with an improved lineup that could look like: